Martin Yan loves palm oil!

Look out for Martin Yan's cooking show "Taste of Malaysia" that features the versatility of palm cooking oil in Malaysia's myriad of cuisines.  

Apart from being a very heat stable frying oil, palm oil gives smooth and creamy texture in margarine and chocolate spreads. When blended into baked biscuits and croissants, palm oil allows for crispiness and crunch between the layers of pastry.

The Mandarin version of Taste of Malaysia airs every Sunday on 8TV, beginning Sept 6 at 6.30pm while the English version airs every Tuesday, starting Sept 8 at 9pm over ntv7.

This is written by my colleague Loong Wai Ting.

SUBANG JAYA: “I can eat nasi lemak every day!” quipped celebrity chef Martin Yan when met at the launch of his Taste of Malaysia cooking show at The Place in One City, earlier today. 

The popular chef is in town to promote his new cooking show, where he will take viewers across Malaysia to sample some of the mouth-watering local dishes. 

Yan, who had just arrived today in Kuala Lumpur from San Francisco where he currently resides, was his usual chatty self as he shared his knowledge in cooking as well as his journey throughout the country filming 'Taste of Malaysia.' 

“Malaysia is such a diverse country, a melting pot of culture and foreign influences. Wherever I go in Malaysia, each place has its own unique personality. 

"Everything I encounter here reminds me the real meaning of diversity. Here, you can have unique dishes from all the places in the country, unlike Thailand where you can only get Thai food,” said the 67-year-old chef.

Yan also shared an interesting aspect of himself and local celebrity chef Datuk Redzuawan Ismail or better known as Chef Wan. 

“Our relationship went way back. I was the commencement speaker at Chef Wan’s graduation at the California Culinary Academy. It was there that we got to know each other and became friends until today. 

“And this is also the reason why I get to host this show since Chef Wan is such a busy man and I am the only one available for filming,” he said, jokingly. 

On his take on our local culture, Yan said: “When you look around these old coffee shops, you see a family of three or four generations working together, doing the same thing everyday. The culture here is wonderful,” he said. 

Yan’s love for Malaysia continues to grow. He told reporters that he could now consume three Musang King durians (the type of durian famous for its creamy and thick flesh), on his own. “In the beginning, I thought I could never like durian. But now I love it. It is an acquired taste,” he said. 

Earlier, Yan demonstrated his cooking skills where he made chicken salad. He also showed off his chopping skills, slicing the vegetables into tiny pieces almost effortlessly. “I’ve never cut myself doing this, but I can be easily distracted. Like all things, practice makes perfect,” he said. 

'Taste of Malaysia' was filmed at several locations across Malaysia including Klang, Ipoh, Penang, Malacca, Terengganu, Johor, Sabah and Sarawak over 67 days. The 26-episode show focuses on the diversity of food and culture here. 

'Taste of Malaysia' will be shown in two languages: English and Mandarin. Yan recorded the show in two languages, first in English and then Mandarin. 

“Another thing I like about Malaysia is that there are many places serving food. You have hotels and restaurants where top chefs from around the world serving you good food, and you also have street food and hawker stalls which make everything so interesting. Cooking should be fun. It brings people together. Everything in this world revolves around food,” he said. 

Born in Canton, China to a restaurateur father and a grocer mother, Yan moved to Hong Kong at the age of 13 where he attended Munsang College. It was also at that time that Yan began to work at his uncle’s restaurant and learned the ropes of cooking. He later left for Canada to further his education. 

To his Western audience, Yan is known for his Chinese cuisine cooking show 'Yan Can Cook' where it featured traditional Chinese meals. Besides hosting his own cooking shows, Yan is also an author of over two dozen cookbooks. He has also appeared on several episodes of 'Iron Chef America' as guest judge. He also starred in the 2005 Hong Kong film Rice Rhapsody.